The mysterious jungles of Ubud greeted us with a hearty breakfast buffet. Alright, it was the hotel where we stayed at after arriving from Amed. A hotel in the Ubud jungles – classy. If you turn away from the plate, you’ll see a river under overgrown terraces of wild vegetation.
We continued our day with lounging near one of the pools. The red hibiscus trees all around us made the atmosphere so exotic. Multitudes of statues with the most bizarre of faces were commonplace in Bali. In the garden of the hotel, there was a variety of different half-animals, half-humans, guarding or just monitoring the area. The red hibiscus was perkily placed behind the ear of a frog or in the hand of a monkey.
We jumped on the minibus and reached the Monkey Forest in no time. This is one of the most famous attractions of Ubud, and Bali as a whole. I would not say that it was a fascinating visit, though. Before we entered, we bought bananas to feed the monkeys. The very first monkey sensed our presence and because it was old and had a bleeding mouth, we did not want to see what would happen if we did not give to it all the bananas. Anyway, we went deeper inside the forest where we encountered three monkey tamers.
The monkeys were awed by them and did not reach for the banana bunches, and we were walking with empty hands…
It was not difficult to make a monkey “pose” with you – you just have to show them a banana, put it (or something else which is food) near you, and they will immediately get on your head. The majority of the people would scream and shout when a monkey hopped on their heads, but they (the people) would not stop smiling ridiculously just for the photo. 🙈
While I was ambling through the woods that looked like a park because of the cobbled lanes, I was constantly on pins and needles. I was wondering when a crazy, aggressive monkey would decide that I had something it wanted, and would come to attack me. It was good that we adhered to the recommendations before entry that we should not carry any foods / drinks (even) inside our bags, because the apes have no problem to nose them out and steal your belongings. We also hid our sunglasses because they were usually taken by the monkeys in exchange for food. 🙂 🐒🙈🐵
A few days later, we experienced a dramatic situation with a monkey that sniffed some chips. In Bali, we saw monkeys several more times – mostly in places where you do not pay an entrance fee and they do not pursue you. Therefore, I rate our experience in Ubud’s Monkey Forest as quite intense, and as a thing that I would not repeat. Perhaps, the problem was that I realized that the monkeys can conquer us – as has happened in some movies. They only need to wish for it. However, sights as those below can make you sentimentalize…
The soothing stroll in the city ended with a performance at one of Ubud’s palaces. We watched the prominent Kechak and Fire dance. The men of the village gather and they, armed with their rhythmic and poignant songs sung ensemble (without any instruments), are the only musical accompaniment. On stage, there was an interpretation of the story of Ramayana. The fire dance is performed by a hypnotized man.
Only very few, selected people can fall into this kind of trance. The man with completely shut eyes puts out the fire by kicking the burning shells with bare feet, leaving the audience in suspense not realizing what condition he is in. He almost literally put the first line of spectators “on fire”. It was good that the “fire extinguishers” were quick enough to act with the brooms 🙂 At the end, two burly young men needed to bring the fire dancer back to our world.
The day ended with another great, traditional dinner. We were interested in tasting the dishes from the Balinese / Indonesian cuisine. After all, we were not there to eat European food. Therefore, we audaciously ordered various dishes with the most interesting of content which all proved to be quite tasty.
If you only have a couple days to explore the are, we suggest that you look at this cool two-day itinerary in Ubud.
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